Prices of foodstuff in Awka, Anambra State capital, have gone up astronomically as residents engaged in panic buying ahead of the Monday, 31st May sit-at-home order the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) issued.
Every 30th of May, IPOB holds a yearly sit-at-home to commemorate the killing of people from the southeast during the Nigeria civil war, but this year’s event has been shifted to Monday 31st to allow worshipers to go to church on Sunday.
Residents of Awka have continued to engage in panic buying until late evening on Saturday as families sought to stock their homes out of fear that the order may lead to scarcity of food items.
The leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, had warned that anyone found on the streets in the southeast and the south-south zones of Nigeria on Monday would be heavily dealt with.
Daily Trust learnt that prices of food items like meat, tomato at Eke Awka market, a major market in the city, has gone up drastically.
A measure of rice that was sold at N1500 is now N2400 and the size of meat that was sold at N5000 is now over N8000.
A measure of fresh tomatoes that was sold at N200 is now between N500 and N600 while a measure of garri that was before now N1100 is now between N N1800 and 2000.
A resident, Mrs Nkechi Ogwu, told newsmen that the prices of foodstuff have gone up within this period because people are trying to stock their homes with food items ahead of the 31st May sit-at-home order by IPOB.
“I’m buying foodstuff for my family, which will serve us until after Monday. The cost of things is so high that by the time you buy one or two things your money is finished,” she lamented.
Miss Favour Nwafor, a nurse, said: “I went to the market and after buying some food items, it appeared as if I lost money in the market.
“People are rushing to buy things as if the world is coming to an end,” she said.
A meat dealer, Uche Okafor, also said that cows are costly now.
According to him, despite the hike, people are still buying because their children will not eat food with meat.
A tomato seller, Mrs Ifeoma Obiora, who confirmed the panic buying to our reporter, said the rush had caused the cost of food items to go up astronomically in the market.
“We don’t know what will happen on Monday and people are buying food items to stock their kitchens,” he said.